Collinsworth ties NCAA career triple-double record as Cougars advance to WCC finals

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BYU's Kyle Collinsworth yells after hitting a free throw late in the Cougars 84–70 win over Portland in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament. Collinsworth earned his 6th career triple-double with the shot, tying an NCAA record. (BYU Photo)
BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth yells after hitting a free throw late in the Cougars 84–70 win over Portland in the semifinals of the WCC tournament. Collinsworth earned his sixth career triple-double with the shot, tying an NCAA record. (BYU Photo)

LAS VEGAS – Kyle Collinsworth tied the NCAA career triple-double record in the BYU men’s basketball team’s 84-70 semifinal win over the Portland Pilots. His 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists helped the Cougars get to a Tuesday night rubber-match against Gonzaga in the WCC tournament championship game.

“The credit goes to my teammates,” Collinsworth said. “We have a lot of good shooters and Chase (Fischer) made a ton of threes. Our teammates and our pace make it easy to get triple-doubles.”

Collinsworth’s sixth triple-double puts him in a three-way tie with Michael Anderson of Drexel and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal, who coincidentally recorded his sixth in an NCAA tournament game against BYU.

Fischer started the game hot from deep, hitting four of his first five 3-point attempts to give the Cougars a 23-14 lead halfway through the first period.

“Chase was terrific,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “He was moving and getting to open spots, and our guys were just really good at finding him. We’ve had that feel two or three times with Chase as far as 3-pointer after 3-pointer after 3-pointer.”

BYU’s early 9-2 run was capped by a transition three from Tyler Haws with a sleek behind-the-back assist from Collinsworth. Fischer then knocked down two more shots from behind the arc to lead BYU with 20 points at the break.

The Cougars shot 67 percent from three as a team in the first half and assisted on 12 of their 15 field goals to lead the Pilots 42-24 at halftime.

“The philosopher Mike Tyson said, ‘Everyone has a plan until you get hit in the mouth,’ and that’s what happened,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. “We got hit in the mouth.”

Collinsworth was already on triple-double watch to start the second half, having recorded four, eight and eight in the opening 20 minutes.

Skyler Halford picked up where Fischer left off after halftime, going 2-for-2 from three and scoring 10 points in the second half.

Collinsworth missed the front end of a one-and-one at the 7:28 mark that would have given him his 10th point and finished off the incredible stat.

“It’s a big free throw,” he said. “Everyone’s yelling while I’m shooting, and they’re all BYU fans.”

Collinsworth wouldn’t disappoint after making it back to the line on the next possession, sinking both free throws and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Fischer led all scorers with 24 points despite only scoring four in the second half. Haws added 18 to move into the top 25 on the NCAA career scoring list.

BYU will seek its first conference tournament championship under Rose Tuesday night. A second consecutive win over the No. 7 Zags will be a tough task, but the Cougars are excited for the challenge.

“As a group we’re really confident,” Fischer said. “We have a lot of confident players, and the pace we play with allows us to score in bunches.”

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